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iPhone Trade-in Guide – What to do Before Getting Rid of Your iPhone

by Sarah Dobson on February 17, 2020

What to expect: Our Apple iPhone Trade-in Guide explains the steps you need to follow before trading in your iPhone:

  1. Determine if your device is eligible
  2. Unpair your Apple Watch
  3. Back up your iPhone
  4. Sign out of iCloud, iTunes and App Store
  5. Erase all your content and settings
  6. Trade your iPhone into a certified Apple Store

Are you itching for a new iPhone but haven’t made the jump because your current phone is still chugging along? Or, do you have any old iPhones laying around that you’re not using any more? If so, don’t let old iPhones go to waste. You can trade them in and earn some store credit. But before you do, follow the steps below to protect your data from falling into the next owner’s hands.

Step No. 1: Determine if your device is eligible for an Apple iPhone trade-in

apple iphone trade in

Here’s a list of defects that might disqualify your phone from being eligible:

  • Issues powering on and off
  • Signs of battery swelling
  • Software boot-up errors
  • Software installed issues
  • A blinking folder with a “?” displayed
  • Broken or cracked screen
  • Malfunctioning screen (flickers, pixel loss, non-functioning backlight, visible lines)
  • Cracks, dents or severe scratches to the housing
  • Malfunctioning or missing buttons

Even if your iPhone has some damage, you may be able to get some trade-in value for it so it’s still worth getting a quote.

Step No. 2: Unpair your Apple Watch

apple iphone trade in

If you have an Apple Watch paired to your iPhone, follow the steps below to disconnect it before trading it in (if you don’t have an Apple Watch, you can move on to the next step).

  1. With yo
  2. ur Apple Watch and iPhone close together, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  3. Go to the My Watch tab and find your watch.
  4. Tap the info icon next to your watch’s name.
  5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.
    • If you plan to pair your Apple Watch to your next iPhone, choose to keep your cellular plan.
  6. Tap again to confirm.
    • You might need to enter your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock.

Before erasing all content and settings on your Apple Watch, your iPhone will create a backup of this information. When you back up your iPhone in the next step, this will include the data from your Apple Watch.

Step No. 3: Back up your iPhone

apple iphone trade in

There are a couple of ways you can back up your iPhone:

  • iCloud: Gives you 5GB of storage for free and the ability to add up to 2TB of storage; automatically encrypts your backups; allows you to create and use backups from anywhere with Wi-Fi.
  • iTunes: Stores your backups on your Mac or PC so storage depends on your computer’s available space; you can still encrypt your backups but this is turned off by default; allows you to create and use backups from your Mac or PC.

We recommend using iCloud, but if you want to use iTunes, you can find detailed instructions here.

Steps to back up your iPhone using iCloud

  1. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network
  2. Go to Settings > [your name]
  3. Select iCloud
    • If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings, then scroll down and tap iCloud.
  4. Tap iCloud Backup
    • If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Backup. Make sure that iCloud Backup is turned on.
  5. Tap Back Up Now
    • Make sure to stay connected to your Wi-Fi network until the process is complete.

To confirm the backup completed:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name]
  2. Select iCloud
  3. iCloud Backup
    • Under Back Up Now, you’ll see the date and time of your last backup.

Step No. 4: Sign out of iCloud, iTunes and App Store

Next, you’ll need to sign out of all the services on your iPhone. Make sure you have your login information so you can still access these services on your new device.

How to sign out of iCloud, iTunes and the App Store if you’re using iOS 10.3 or later:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name]
  2. Scroll down and tap Sign Out
  3. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off

How to sign out of iCloud, iTunes and the App Store if you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap iCloud
  3. Select Sign Out
  4. Tap Sign Out again
  5. Then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password
  6. Go to Settings
  7. Go to iTunes & App Store
  8. Tap Apple ID
  9. Select Sign Out

Step No. 5: Erase all your content and settings

Erasing your content and settings will turn off services like iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime and Game Center. This step will also remove information like photos, contacts, music and apps you’ve added to your phone, along with any credit or debit cards you added for Apple Pay. (Don’t worry, all that data will be safe on the iCloud if you backed up your phone correctly).

How to erase your content and settings:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Select Reset
  4. Select Erase All Content and Settings
    • If you’ve turned on Find My iPhone, you might have to enter your passcode or Apple ID password.
  5. Tap Erase [device]

Once you tap Erase, the process will take a couple of minutes to complete. When it’s done, your iPhone will restart and you’ll be ready to go trade it in.

Step No. 6: Trade in your iPhone at a certified Apple Store

apple iphone trade in

To get an idea of what your iPhone is worth, start with an online quote. Once you have that, find your local Simply Mac and trade in your iPhone for store credit. Our staff will evaluate your iPhone and give you a quote for its trade-in value. We’ll give you that amount in store credit that can be used at any Simply Mac location.

*Trade-in values are subject to change without notice based on market conditions. Damage to device, failing components, or missing accessories may be deducted from the quoted price. Quotes honored in store credit.